Author: Lauren McMenemy

Trembling With Fear 08/14/2022

Howdy, writers of the dark. You are my favourites, each and every one of you. How else can we process what’s going on in this world if not through writing our darkest fears, through exploring the possibilities and exorcising our demons on the page?

In the spirit of processing through writing, I asked Twitter the other day for recommendations. As I sit here, an Australian in London, watching everyone trying (and failing) to deal with this new threat of constant heat, I realised I want to read more climate-based fiction, both of the dystopian and of the solarpunk variety. It’s something I’ve dabbled in, and I’d love to do more exploration myself. 

And you know what? Twitter is a dumpster fire most of the time, but sometimes the tweeters really come through. My notifications were flooded for days with recommendations from all over the place; so much so that I now feel a need to pull together those recommendations into a document that I can share, just to spread the love. Maybe you have your own beloved CliFi pieces? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter, and let’s keep building this list of greatness

Not much climate stuff for you this week, but as it’s my birthday (yes, today, the 14th) I have decided to indulge myself and bring you stories that align with my own mission: folk horror, the natural world, the mythic, monsters and… ghosts. Of a sort, at least. 

This week’s trembling main course is an exploration of religion, nature and faith through the eyes of a child and a very intriguing woodland. This was actually one of the first pieces I read when I took over from Steph, and it took my breath away. Thanks, Matthew Crowder!

For the quick bites, we have three delicious offerings:

  • Regina Beach puts her own twist on an old Welsh myth
  • Paul Latham hides in the closet, waiting for his moment, and
  • Deborah Sheldon shows why you should always help when asked

Enjoy my birthday selection – and be sure to share your own stories with us, too! You’ll find details on how to submit over here

Over to you, Stuart….

Lauren McMenemy

Editor, Trembling With Fear

Lauren has been just an amazing new resource for Horror Tree! Not only is she keeping me on track with Trembling With Fear’s incoming stories, she has also helped us update our Trembling With Fear Submission Guidelines! Behind-the-scenes, she’s also helping us get a bit more organized in other areas, though that isn’t really something front-facing but will be hugely beneficial to the site on the whole. We’ll have a few other page changes coming up and I should be seeing the first preview of the new layout by next Monday which isn’t a full preview but will be a framework and I’m thrilled to check it out.

In other realms of working on expanding the site… Did one of our recent Author Interviews end up on Microsoft Start?! We would all LOVE if you can throw us a follow on MSN!

For those looking to support the site, we’ve recently launched a Ko-Fi and always have our Patreon going.

As always, I hope you had a great weekend.

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

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An Interview with Denise Agnew
An Interview with Denise Agnew

Trembling With Fear 08/07/2022

Howdy, writers. How has it been a month already since Steph stepped down? I have no idea where the time goes. But just because she’s not bringing you TWF every week doesn’t mean she’s not around: Steph’s had lots of great news for her books and poetry lately, so be sure to check out her website and follow her on the socials to keep up your support.

This new month brings dread for me personally: it’s my birthday at a yet-to-be-revealed point in August. The neverending march of time goes on. I don’t deal well with ageing – I’m one of those who obsesses over missed opportunities and what I haven’t yet done that I really should’ve done already – but the other half is treating me to a night of spooky theatre in London’s West End, so I can’t complain too much! Impending birthday action also means I’m being asked for present ideas from those back home. What’s been your favourite horror or speculative release this year? I’ll add them to the wishlist…

Enough about me, though. That’s not what this brief editorial is for. Trembling With Fear is all about YOU and your creepy, strange and wondrous brains. What have you got for us? Where do you want to take us? Remember, it’s now less than three months until Halloween! What better way to practice your scares than on the page?

On this week’s trembling menu… Roxi Howitt brings us a tale of stormy nights in the middle of nowhere, with weird locals in a motel and a sense that something ain’t right. 

For the quick bites, we have three delicious offerings:

  • Stephane G Perahim’s Shut Up and Drive shows why you shouldn’t hitchhike
  • Nicholas Zielinksi’s My Eyes Stare Into Hers ponders the question of soulmates, and
  • Corinne Pollard’s Lava Cupid centres on a necklace that isn’t quite what it seems.

Enjoy this week’s talent – and be sure to share your own stories with us, too! You’ll find details on how to submit over here

Over to you, Stuart….

Lauren McMenemy

Editor, Trembling With Fear

As a Foodie whose wife works in the food industry, I love the idea of referring to our weekly reading as a menu. Though, let’s go fine dining here. This is a tasting menu that you get to enjoy every course being offered and don’t have to select a limited offering. Enjoy this week’s stories! *chef’s kiss*

On the site itself, we’re still busy working in the background in preparation for the new layout. So far, the database has been initially optimized which has sped it up about 25%. This is really noticeable on the backend and, I’m hoping, for all of you as well!

This was my last week for my current MBA class so by the time you read this, I’ll be done for a few weeks. I’ll be really upping what I’m trying to get done so hopefully there will be a few immediate changes that I’ll get to talk about! 

For those looking to support the site, we’ve recently launched a Ko-Fi and always have our Patreon going. We’re still recovering from losing a few Patreons as of late so any help is appreciated there.

As always, I hope you had a great weekend.

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

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Trembling With Fear 07/31/2022

Hello, hello. I’m still trying to figure out how to start these things every week. Do I greet you all by name? What’s the collective noun for horror and speculative writers? (Got an idea? Let me know in the comments or tweet me @novicenovelist!)

It’s been a strange week in the London-based TWF Towers. We don’t talk about the heat anymore. There’s an election campaign for a new Prime Minister going on but less than 1% of the population can vote in it. Everyone I meet is a bit out of sorts all round. Is it plague fatigue still? Who knows… But that’s why I’m proud of myself for actually getting off my behind and starting the damned new novel. Not research, not thinking – actual writing of made-up wordage.

Those who know me know my fraught relationship with my writing. It’s like the proverbial will-they/won’t-they romance: writing is my life, my love, my eternal frustration. As someone living with chronic depression and recovering from severe burnout, I can find it difficult to muster the energy to do *stuff*, especially the stuff that is important to me. Work deadlines get met because other people are relying on me; my own deadlines though? Fat chance. So I’m telling you here [insert collective noun], partly so one day someone might ask me how it’s going and I will have to have something to tell them. 

It’s one of the great things about taking on this role at Horror Tree; I get to read great pieces by all of you, to hear about your own writing journeys, and be inspired to make my own inroads. Let’s get there together, ok?

Turning to this week’s trembling menu… Our short story comes from Katie Conrad. Flesh Unknown is that perfect mix of sinister and visceral; a bit of a speculative horror that really makes the skin crawl. 

For the quick bites, we have three delicious offerings:

  • Greg Von Dare’s Winsome is lovely… until it’s not.
  • Sundown by Alan Moskowitz is the kind of real-world frightening that doesn’t involve violence or blood – just the mind, and
  • An Eager Shelter by Joyce Jacobo takes us to the horrors of space

Oh – and before I forget, I’ve bitten the bullet and will be at the UK’s FantasyCon in September. Let me know if you’re there so we can say hi.

Over to you, Stuart….

Lauren McMenemy

Editor, Trembling With Fear

Whew! A lot going on as always. Currently, we’re working on expanding on our video offerings, more on that soon. We hit 500 subscribers on Horror Tree’s YouTube channel! Now to live up to my promise, I won’t mention it here for a few weeks 😉 At least, until some of the new video offerings are available. At that time I’ll just plug those but not keep begging you to subscribe! (At least, not here, for a while.) Much of my focus is currently on working with our designer for the future layout. There will be more on that and potential speed increases for the site, very soon!

For those looking to support the site, we’ve recently launched a Ko-Fi and always have our Patreon going. We’re still recovering from losing a few Patreons as of late so any help is appreciated there.

As always, I hope you had a great weekend.

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

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Trembling With Fear 07/24/2022

Hello to you, brave creators. How are you doing? Here in London we’ve just had the hottest day ever recorded, and watching all the wildfires breaking out made me remember summers back home in Australia. There’s nothing quite like the smell of smoke on the horizon to yank you back to previous lives.

So I’ve been doing a lot of staying inside, sitting right in front of a fan (no aircon here!), and trying to make sure the bunny survives the heat. She did so well; as the weather broke last night, I sat with her watching my guilty pleasure TV (ahem, Supernatural) and pretended all was ok with the world.

A few days earlier, as the heat cranked up, I spent time on Zoom running some workshops on the art of the drabble. I find the teeny tiny stories are such a great way to hone my craft, to learn to make the hard edits, to spark creativity and curiosity. So, I brought that curiosity to my writing community at the London Writers’ Salon. I had more than 30 writers sit with me to examine some published drabbles (a few from this very publication, of course!), and to then work from visual prompts to create our own. Not everyone went dark – we even had some erotica! – but those that did have been encouraged to submit to Trembling With Fear. 

You see, we have a never-ending hunger for drabbles and short stories, and I’d personally love to see what you all have in you, deep down in that dark place you don’t like to show too often. Tap into it. Let it all spill out. Then let me see the proceeds… <insert evil laugh>

Let’s take a look at those who have come before: This week’s short story sees Eric Fomley take us to the trees and the revolution with a tale of friendship gone awry.

For the quick bites, we have three delicious offerings:

  • Emma E Murray’s Postpartum is simply heartbreaking
  • Cursed Heart by Don Money warns us to treat our elders well, and
  • Luminous Darkness by Catherine Berry will have you checking the dark corners twice

Over to you, Stuart….

Lauren McMenemy

Editor, Trembling With Fear

FIRST – A quick note from one of our TWF editors, Amanda Headlee: Who wants summer to last longer? We do at the Horror Tree! This year, we’ve extended our Summer Specials submission period by an extra month so that we can collect even more hellishly hot and campfire creepy stories. Send us your tales of horror about backpacking, road trips, glamping, beach adventures, summer camp… anything summer-related goes! You may even want to write a drabble as a summer vacation postcard as a “wish you were here” [insert evil grin].

The submission window is open until August 31st to submit drabbles of 100 words and short stories up to 2500 words. 

I am on a quick vacation this week! Visiting a friend who I used to visit yearly and *waves hand in the air* it’s been a couple of years. So this one will be short and sweet. Not much in the way of updates, more in the way of reminders.

Just a reminder: the new editions of ‘Trembling With Fear Year 5‘ And ‘More Tales From The Tree 4‘ are both fully available at this time. Also, last month we lost 3 Patreons recently. Thankfully, one new one has stepped up to really help out! We’re still behind, though, thankfully, are much closer to where we were at. I will say that, if you’ve been thinking about becoming a Patreon, now would be the perfect time!

As mentioned the last couple of weeks, we’re a bit low on drabbles at the moment so if you have 100 words of speculative fiction that you’d like to send our way, we’re very open to it! 🙂

We’re under ***5*** subscribers away from hitting our current goal for the Horror Tree’s YouTube channel at the time of writing this! Once we hit 500, I promise that I’ll stop plugging it for at least a month! 😉

For those looking to support the site, we’ve recently launched a Ko-Fi and always have our Patreon going.

As always, I hope you had a great weekend.

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

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Trembling With Fear 07/17/2022

Erm… howdy. Yes, yes, I know – you were expecting someone different. And no, I’m not a shapeshifter who’s taken the form of Chris McAuley, nor have aliens kidnapped him (at least, not to the best of my knowledge). Alas, Chris’s life has gotten rather sparkly and busy since he stepped up to be my co-editor as Steph stepped down, and the latest MAHOOSIVE development in his world means he’s had to bow out of ours. Sad times. Rest assured, you have definitely not heard the last of Dr McAuley; for now, you can always head to the StokerVerse if you need a dose of his horribleness.

…which means I’m now riding solo. Hi, my name is Lauren and I’m your new sole (soul?) editor at Trembling With Fear. I said my thanks to Steph last week for all she has done for this zine, and she’s still very much a part of this site. (Remember to check out the indie bookshelf!) 

It’s been damn, devilishly hot here in London Town this week, which has made focus and motivation incredibly difficult. At least my native Australia is built for handling heat; this country just has no idea what it’s doing once the temperature goes about 25C/75F. I remember being amazed, my first summer here, when the rails seriously melted and stopped the trains. The houses? They’re made to trap the heat inside, and nothing is air conditioned. And it’s only going to get worse next week; I might have to set aside some time to write that climate crisis-driven dystopian horror I’ve been thinking about.

For now, though, it’s about YOU and what you’ve been thinking about. We’d love to hear more from you, so please do send in your short stories and drabbles. Go dark, go beyond, and let us have it!

This week we have a short from Dave Musson with a distinctive style and traumatic technology.

For the quick bites, we have three delicious offerings:

  • Critic, by Chris Chapman, does what many artists have wanted to do, I’m sure
  • Monkey King, by Mike Radar, enters the simian mind
  • And finally, Self-Help, by LJ McMenemy – aka yours truly – asks how far you’ll go for self-fulfilment 

Next week I hand the reins over to… Oh no, wait. It’s me again. All that’s left to say then is: Over to you, Stuart….

Lauren McMenemy

Editor, Trembling With Fear

FIRST – A quick note from one of our TWF editors, Amanda Headlee: Who wants summer to last longer? We do at the Horror Tree! This year, we’ve extended our Summer Specials submission period by an extra month so that we can collect even more hellishly hot and campfire creepy stories. Send us your tales of horror about backpacking, road trips, glamping, beach adventures, summer camp… anything summer-related goes! You may even want to write a drabble as a summer vacation postcard as a “wish you were here” [insert evil grin].

The submission window is open until August 31st to submit drabbles of 100 words and short stories up to 2500 words. 

Now, onto our other editing news; Lauren pretty much covered it above! Steph and Amanda will be providing any support she might need though, I’ll be honest, I’m pretty sure Lauren is more organized than I am so I am not too concerned. 

As to site news this week, we’re slowly planning on starting up on working on the new layout in the last week of July and first couple weeks of August. More news to come!

Just a reminder: the new editions of ‘Trembling With Fear Year 5‘ And ‘More Tales From The Tree 4‘ are both fully available at this time. Also, last month we lost 3 Patreons recently. Thankfully, one new one has stepped up to really help out! We’re still behind, though, thankfully, are much closer to where we were at. I will say that, if you’ve been thinking about becoming a Patreon, now would be the perfect time!

As mentioned the last couple of weeks, we’re a bit low on drabbles at the moment so if you have 100 words of speculative fiction that you’d like to send our way, we’re very open to it! 🙂

We’re under 15 subscribers away from hitting our current goal for the Horror Tree’s YouTube channel! Once we hit 500, I promise that I’ll stop plugging it for at least a month! 😉

For those looking to support the site, we’ve recently launched a Ko-Fi and always have our Patreon going.

As always, I hope you had a great weekend.

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

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Trembling With Fear 07/10/2022

It seems fitting that I’m writing this as we approach the midnight hour here in London Town, having just returned from a witchcraft anthology launch at the famous esoteric bookstore Watkins. I say this partly to explain to Stuart why I’m slightly late with my first editorial, and also by way of introduction to me, your scribe for this week. 

I come to TWF and Horror Tree as a bit of an unknown quantity, and I thank Steph not only for all she’s done for this site over the last few years, but also for encouraging me to put my hand up for this role. I have many years’ experience in the world of editorial – as a journalist, a copywriter, an editor, a proofreader, a marketer – but less so in the world of horror. You won’t have seen my name pop up in anthologies or on the indie bookshelf (I’m working on it, I promise!), and I’ve only just started to venture out on the UK convention circuit. However, I am a lifelong fan of the genre, and I’m so excited to be entrusted with this holy grail of dark editor roles.

While this week marks the first in a new era for TWF, I want to assure you that Chris and I aren’t here for revolution. This will still be your place for dark fiction, a place for both new and established writers to find a home for short stories and drabbles. (Embarassing admission: I’d never heard the term “drabble” until I ventured across Horror Tree!) As always, submissions don’t have to be horror – we accept all speculative fiction with darker leanings – and we are always open, all year round. If you’ve never submitted to TWF, perhaps look to this new era as a reason to experiment?

And so to the reason you’re here: this week’s works. We start with What the Camera Adds by Karl Lykken, a short speculative piece trading on the very modern concern over the perfect look. 

For the quick bites, we have three delicious offerings:

  • Time, by RJ Meldrum, which ponders life in a spacesuit
  • Bite the Hand, by Gully Novaro, which considers the animal’s point of view
  • The Safety of the Circle, by Micah Castle, which creeps and conjures dread

Next week I hand the reins over to the one and only Dr Chris McAuley, to give him his full title, who’s been a very busy human of late. We’ll be taking turns in charge every other week, and hope the added variety in your time with TWF keeps you coming back for more. And maybe submitting more, too?

Over to you, Stuart….

Lauren McMenemy
(New) Co-Editor, Trembling With Fear



 

Lauren McMenemy

Editor, Trembling With Fear

I promise our new editors that I will get used to not seeing Steph’s name in that first intro soon! 

Totally off subject for a moment. I had finally squirreled away enough to buy a new monitor recently to replace my aging monitor. Not even 2 weeks of use as it has already conked out on me and they’re insistent on sending a tech instead of replacing it with the warranty that is in place which means I’m down the new monitor for 2-3 weeks. Thanks, Samsung.

At any rate, you aren’t here to hear me complain! This is our first week with Lauren covering our intro and I’m loving to see what she has to say! (We’ve also been going over the review/approval process.) Loving making some progress on this! We’re moving forward and things are looking great.

Just a reminder: the new editions of ‘Trembling With Fear Year 5‘ And ‘More Tales From The Tree 4‘ are both fully available at this time.

As mentioned the last couple of weeks, we’re a bit low on drabbles at the moment so if you have 100 words of speculative fiction that you’d like to send our way, we’re very open to it! 🙂

We’re under 20 subscribers away from hitting our current goal for the Horror Tree’s YouTube channel! Once we hit 500, I promise that I’ll stop plugging it for at least a month! 😉

For those looking to support the site, we’ve recently launched a Ko-Fi and always have our Patreon going.

As always, I hope you had a great weekend.

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

(more…)